Postcommodities: after stuff

Laida Aguirre (A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning)

Collaborators: Arash Adel, Assistant Professor – A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning; Raj Rao Nadakuditi, Associate Professor, EECS – College of Engineering; Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS)

This multidisciplinary symposium / performance attempts to respond to the questions… What if we make no new things? What models of material circulation can designers engage that don’t rely on producing new objects/buildings? The symposium / performance will bring together renowned designers, scholars, and comedians across the fields of art, architecture, and ecology who are currently working at the intersections of design, research, and activism to investigate issues concerning contemporary material circulations and its relationship to culture at large. We will investigate the tactics and approaches of designers and scholars making work in the current climate of cultural-material-ecological entanglements while particularly foregrounding practices that are investigating alternatives to the current capitalist culture-commodity loop. The symposium will include a series of live and pre-recorded discussion panels and performances that will be broadcasted through the web.

One person’s wishlist is already another person’s problem. Prime Day is cruel and you can’t afford the bag your culture is printed on. This persistent materialism is contributing to social inequity and climate crisis alike and from quarries to distribution centers to construction methods, architecture is implicated at all scales of this material overproduction.

This symposium begins from a moment of material reckoning by foregrounding designers and thinkers who are proposing other-again-new modes of operating within this material culture. postcommodities…architecture after stuff explores the possibility of a socio-material ecology by looking into radical reuse, material after materialism, non-optimization, queer supply chains, commercial antagonisms, the importance of maintenance and the role of the digital in all this to set the question:

What can architecture do with all this stuff?

This mixed-modality 2-day symposium will be livestreamed. Click here to register.


Keller Easterling, Yale School of Architecture
Jack Halberstam, Columbia University